I write this stuck in Columbus, MT thanking God for winter weather warnings and the technology that makes them possible! These warnings helped me prepare for a disruptive snow event so that my life might be a little safer and predictable if not controllable or convenient. But not all events are so predictable. In fact, our lives are full of unpredictable and uncontrollable change.
Change is hard. It upends our lives, makes us face the unknown, drives up our anxiety and fear. Humans like stability because it’s measurable, foreseeable, even controllable. When we know what to expect, we can relax and take comfort in the fact that nothing will threaten our existence at that moment. But when things change, all those expectations go out the window. Our worry levels rise and we’re left feeling like an uncontrolled life is an unsafe life.
And yet change is life. And life is change. Without change there would be no life. Imagine a tulip bulb that didn’t change into a beautiful flower in the spring. Imagine the larches and the oaks that didn’t change their leaves in the fall. Imagine a chrysalis that doesn’t change into a butterfly. Or a newborn child who doesn’t grow into an adult. Life without change is not life at all. At best it’s a holding pattern; at worst, it is death itself. To truly live, to live in the full blessings of life that God wants for us, our lives must be transformed. We must rise to new life with Christ, a new life that necessarily means change.
Following Jesus is hard. It’s radical. It’s frightening. It’s change. But finally, it is the only true and lasting life that matters. In Christ, you have been given the promise in your baptism and in the Lord’s Supper that in following Jesus, new life comes to you and for you. In the midst of your anxiety, the promises of Christ bring you hope for a new beginning. In the fear of change, the Holy Spirit inspires faith in the stability and safety only God can bring. In the midst of change’s deaths, new life blooms in you.
“Be not afraid!” the angels cry. “Don’t worry!” Jesus proclaims. Christ’s new life is present in your lives even during winter storm warnings. For the transformation that comes in Christ means a new life for you and for the whole world.
Let us pray…living God, although humans tried to inflict the ultimate change on your son, death on a cross, you raised him to new life. In this resurrection, change no longer represents death, but life.
Open our hearts and minds to prepare our spirits for the transformation into the new life you give us in Christ. Amen.
Bishop Laurie Jungling
Elected June 1, 2019, Laurie is the 5th Bishop of the Montana Synod